Daphne Du Maurier, the supreme weaver of gothic romantic horror tales, never goes out of fashion, despite being dead for over thirty years. Her most famous Rebecca novel was recently re-created on film as well as lauded for its 80th anniversary, with documentaries and biographers constantly fascinated by Du Maurier’s extraordinary life, talent and temperament.
She was born 13 May 1907 4pm London and on the surface had a gilded life with a famous actor-manager father, a actress mother and a wealth of creative talent passed down from grandparents and uncles. She married “Boy” Browning, a much be-medaled army officer, called the “father of the British airborne forces”, who was also an Olympic bobsleigh competitor and after WW11 became an aide to Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh.
But she was reclusive and agonisingly shy, not close to her three children. She spoke to an early biographer of an incestuous relationship with her ‘violent alcoholic’ father and later relationships with actress Gertrude Lawrence amongst others.
She had an emotionally intense, secretive 8th house Taurus Sun and three planets in her ‘publishing’ 9th house – an imaginative Jupiter Neptune conjunction and an influential Pluto. Her Jupiter Neptune opposed an explosive Uranus Mars conjunction in Capricorn which squared widely onto Venus in Aries in her 7th. She would be highly-strung, rebellious, drawn to a showbusiness career and to romantic melodrama, though lived out in an oblique way.
She always said she was split between her masculine and feminine sides. She described herself as “half-breed”, female on the outside “with a boy’s mind and a boy’s heart” and was clearly from her novels conflicted about sexuality. The heroine Rebecca is an animal, a devil, a snake, “vicious, damnable, rotten through and through”. She’s destroyed because of her poisonous sexuality.
What would not make her life easier is that both parents were born with Pluto in Taurus which was conjunct her 8th house Sun, so she would be trapped and over-controlled growing up. Her father does look like a monster, 26 March 1873, since his seductive and manipulative Venus Pluto in Taurus opposed Mars in Scorpio squaring onto Jupiter in Leo – he’d be a narcissistic bully. There would be fraught sexual undertones to that relationship whether anything happened or not with his Venus Pluto conjunct her 8th house Sun and his Neptune conjunct her 7th house Venus.
Gertrude Lawrence, 4 July 1898, had her Mars in Taurus conjunct Daphne’s 8th house Sun with GL’s Venus in square which would spark an attraction though at a deeply unconscious and difficult-to-control level. GL’s Cancer Sun was conjunct Daphne’s Neptune Jupiter and opposition her Uranus Mars – for a half-uplifting, half aggravating chemistry.
Their relationship chart was startling with a fiercely passionate and possessive composite Sun, Venus, Pluto conjunction but again that made an explosive opposition to Uranus and squared onto a high-wire, chaotic Mars so was not designed to survive long term.
Her husband, Boy Browning 20 December 1896, had a chart with some similarities to King George V1, born a year earlier. Browning was a Sun Sagittarius with a power-packed conjunction of Neptune, Mars, Pluto in Gemini square Jupiter in Virgo. His Mars was conjunct Daphne’s Pluto and his Saturn Uranus in Scorpio opposed her Sun – not an ideal match though their relationship chart does indicate affection along with a tendency to constant disruptions and upheavals. He eventually had a nervous breakdown in 1957 when tr Pluto was squaring his Saturn Uranus in Scorpio and retired from public life.
A complicated woman with a complicated life whose writing talent meshed with the culture. Her writers 21st Harmonic was well marked.